Increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time among school-aged children

Finnish Schools on the Move is a national action programme aiming to establish a physically active culture in Finnish comprehensive schools. Schools and municipalities participating in the programme implement their own individual plans to increase physical activity during the school day.

Finnish Schools on the Move programme is one of the key projects in the field of knowledge and education in the Government Programme of Finland. The goal of the government is that "the Schools on the Move project will be expanded across the country to ensure one hour of physical activity each day".

The programme is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and is organised by the Board of Education, regional state administrative agencies and various other organisations, and is part of the Government Programme in Finland.

Finnish Schools on the Move programme started with a pilot phase (2010-2012). In May 2017, more than 90% of municipalities and 80% of comprehensive schools (2 000 schools) are involved in the programme.

Physical activity and sedentary time

Decreasing excessive sitting during school lessons is an opportunity to participate in the programme ideology.

The promotion of physical activity among school-aged children consists of both increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary time. This requires measures to be undertaken both at school and at home.

  • During the school day, physical activity can be increased by adding more physical education lessons, promoting active commuting and encouraging physically active breaks.
  • During schools lessons, sedentary behaviour can be decreased by implementing active learning methods involving short active breaks, in order to support optimal learning and avoid long periods of continued sitting. Decreasing excessive sitting during school lessons is an opportunity for all school personnel to participate in the programme ideology.

Research and follow-up

LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health is monitoring the progress of the local Schools on the Move projects, and conducting scientific research on the physical activity of schoolchildren. For more information, please visit LIKES' website.
 

Material in English

General presentation on Finnish Schools on the Move programme.
Active body, active mind. How does physical activity affect learning? Research study summary by Heidi Syväoja.
School makes you move and sit still. Finnish Schools on the Move research results 2010 to 2015. Tuija Tammelin, Janne Kulmala, Harto Hakonen & Jouni Kallio.
Changes at the Schools in the Move 2103-2015. Students physically active designers of school activities. Tuija Tammelin, Jouni Kallio, Katja Rajala, Harto Hakonen & Kaarlo Laine.

Contact 

Programme director Antti Blom
antti.blom (a) oph.fi
tel. +358 40 348 7316

 
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